Oh! What a lovely time our furry pets have had during Lockdown…
But what now? 
How can we help them to D-COVID their expectations and learn again to accept the angst of being left behind alone?
Time – it feels double for them than it does for us as their life span is so much shorter.
No dog parent who has spent lockdown raising their adorable little one wants to see them distressed. Teach them to cope with your absence by going in and out of a room frequently, closing the door behind you just for a minute or two, and then returning back in. Ignore the dog – no fuss. Keep doing this for about 30 minutes extending the amount of time you go out and close the door.  Do this a few times for a couple of days and your dog will relax knowing you’ll be back.  It immunizes their distress response. If left alone for too long, most puppies will howl and chew everything. 
I ask the question of many puppy owners – would you imprison a 4-year old in a room alone for hours on end with nothing?
Before an owner leaves a dog alone – they must be walked or played with, so energy is burned.  Stuff a complex Kong with little bits of cheese and meats.  Hide kibble around and a safe, smelly long-lasting treat for them to sniff out. Research online ways of enrichment to keep them distracted…perhaps the TV on with films of dogs playing.
Consider a kitten companion or even a rabbit – dogs form friendships when they’re young.  I’ve looked after a Cockapoo whose companion growing up was Ginger the rabbit – they went everywhere together. If getting them a buddy is out of the question, hire a dog walker! You can often find a teenager who is looking for a part-time job, which is more reasonable than using one of the advertised services.
Your pup is depending on you.

About The Author

Julia C Parsons, mother of two living in the UK, has come late to life as a dog person although she owned her own 3 dogs for 16 years. Having begun a new career as a successful home dog boarder 5 years ago to help cover the costs of her empty nest home, she realised how much misinformation there was generally about understanding dog behaviour, their food and nutritional needs as well as the many conflict of interests of the veterinary profession, that may be shortening and not enhancing a dog’s life. Feeling a strong, instinctive empathy with our four-legged friends, she wants to do what she can to be their voice and dispel the many myths surrounding our special companions. @theuksdogblogger

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